Picking First Round upsets in the 2019 NCAA Tournament is easy. One could probably pick all the low seeds in the 5-12, 6-11, 7-10, and 8-9 matchups and win at least 40 percent of the time.
The only difference is that you want to pick the correct upsets in your bracket.
There are some match-ups though that you should stay far, far away from. Some upsets that sound good on paper or on television, which just don’t make sense.
So, while filling out your bracket to try and get far in your bracket pool, keep this nearby.
No. 14 Yale over No. 3 LSU
Yale advancing to the Second Round over LSU is going to be a popular upset pick this week. Without their coach Will Wade it appears that once a promising season for LSU will fall flat very soon in the NCAA Tournament.
Currently suspended by the school, Wade is not involved with the program as they prepare for their first tournament since 2015. With a cloud around the program it is easy to say the players will be distracted, unprepared and not ready to play on Thursday.
Despite all of these things, there is no reason to pick Yale here. The coaching staff is still intact. It is the same coaching staff that got them to a No. 3 seed and becoming the No. 11 overall team in the country. They’ve already played two games without him, winning one and losing the other in the final minute.
And it is not like Yale is a barnstorming mid-major team. They wouldn’t be here if they lost to Harvard on Sunday.
No. 13 UC Irvine over No. 4 Kansas State
This is going to be another popular upset pick among brackets. UC Irvine has won 16 straight games and boast a 30-win season coming into the tournament. They’re up against a slightly depleted Kansas State team, who might be without their second leading scorer Dean Wade.
However, don’t be so quick to count out the Wildcats in this First Round matchup. They shared the Big 12 regular season title, breaking Kansas’ long streak of championships.
Besides, they’ve already played without Wade this season. Kansas State went 4-2 in that stretch with only losses to Texas and Texas Tech. The team is also hopeful that he can play by this matchup on Friday.
K-State probably won’t go far this year, but it won’t end in the First Round.
No. 11 Saint Mary’s over No. 6 Villanova
Looking at Saint Mary’s win over Gonzaga one might jump on the Gaels bandwagon as they go into the NCAA Tournament. But, if anyone has learned anything about Jay Wright’s teams in recent NCAA Tournaments, his teams will go on a run.
It might not be to the level of a National Championship run this year, but they match-up well against Saint Mary’s.
Villanova has a balanced rotation of seven players getting everyone involved in the scoring. That’s juxtaposed to the Gales who don’t go much deeper than their starters.
It’s always turned up a notch in the tournament for the Wildcats. This should be no different.
No. 10 Seton Hall over No. 7 Wofford
Wofford is the mid-major to watch this tournament. All four of their losses this year are to teams in the NCAA Tournament and in their wins it has not even been close.
Fletcher Magee is truly special, bringing home 20 points a contest while shooting 43 percent from behind the arc. His team averages 83 points a contest and last scored below 70 points back on Jan. 19.
They’re rolling on a 20-game winning streak and face against one of the up-and-down teams in college basketball this season.
Seton Hall, while they have impressive wins, cannot be counted on to deliver in a big performance.
You might look foolish if you have Wofford out in the First Round.
No. 7 Cincinnati/ No. 10 Iowa over No. 2 Tennessee
People will be high on Cincinnati to go on a run based on the manner they won the American this past week. In fact, of all of the No. 2 seeds Tennessee probably is the one many will feel uneasy about going far in the tournament.
That is not to say though that the Volunteers will lose in the Second Round. As scrolling through tournament history one would notice that 2009 was the last time all No. 2 seeds made it to the Sweet 16. With Kentucky, Michigan and Michigan State all holding the other spots, Tennessee will probably get the short end of the stick.
Tennessee will force the issue sometimes, but more often than not, it will work for them. All five of their starters can score and their top six can all score. Not many teams can play at their pace.
No. 8 Mississippi/ No. 9 Oklahoma over No. 1 Virginia
Given Tony Bennett’s history in the NCAA Tournament, and the Cavaliers loss to UMBC in 2018, it is fair to question how far Virginia will go this season.
But keep in mind, Virginia is one of the best teams in the country. On the defensive end, there is no one better than the Cavaliers. They have only three losses, two to Duke and one to Florida State.
Match-up wise there is no reason to pick Ole Miss or Oklahoma in this matchup. Virginia has a more complete team, better offensive balance, more experience, everything you need for a run.
All of which will get them back into the Sweet 16 this season.
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